I am having trouble clearly/completely understanding the main cause of a transfer of thermal energy into the environment as a result of a bond formation. In terms of a very simple, generic, exothermic reaction... What I know...I can picture the atoms coming together through electrical attraction(an example of motion/thermal energy of the reactants/products), but what happens after the collision of atoms. How does the kinetic energy of the reactants/products actually cause kinetic energy of the atoms/molecules of the environment. Or maybe the transfer of thermal energy happens before the bond occurs. Please help me. I have been searching, but the results have not been fruitful for a layperson like me. Please use the quality of my description above as an indicator of my level of understanding. I don't believe that high level mathematics in this are necessary for my immediate interests.